Some History of whats on the Mural:
An advertisement, which appeared in the September 19, 1927 issue of Aviation, prompted more than 1 hundred inquires to the Pheasant Aircraft Company of Memphis, Mo. Just 3 months earlier, local resident, pilot, and flight instructor Lee R. Briggs had mobilized community members to incorporate a company, bearing than name, to manufacture a light commercial aircraft for the growing aeronautical market.
World War I had increased public awareness to the importance of aircraft. Flying was no longer a hobby. Airplanes served as a key military tool, and as a mode of transportation, as well as freight and mail delivery. Briggs, who had served in the U.S. Army's airplane production branch of the Army's new Air Corps, began to pursue a self-administered education in aeronautical engineering. By 1923 he had received flight instruction from some of the most famous pilots of the day, including Charles Lindbergh and Scotland County' s own Leslie Smith. Soon after, Briggs purchased a plane and in early 1925, he opened a flying school in Memphis.
By the summer of 1927, the Briggs Flying School had graduated 17 students. Briggs also transported residents from Memphis to other Missouri locations, delivered mail, and when needed, performed at county fairs and parades, and he even provided a service to carry doctors to emergency locations.
Serious efforts began in early June 1927 to organize the airplane manufacturing company in Memphis. A group of stockholders emerged, and on June 1927, with Briggs as president, the group incorporated the Pheasant Aircraft Company. Experienced aircraft designer Orville Hickman directed the construction of the company's first aircraft, a three-passenger commercial craft.
The company enjoyed instant success. By October 1927, Pheasant Aircraft had increased its employees to 25, and was producing one airplane per week. Satisfied customers deemed this craft to be durable and reliable. No easy feat in this era.
The company suffered a serious and tragic blow on December 5th, 1927, when Briggs was killed in an accident while training another student. Following his death a local newspaper article declared: "We believe we violate no truth when we say that he did more to put Memphis on the map than any other citizen." The board of directors tried to re-group, but by the Spring of 1929, after Briggs' death, capital dried up and the company was sold and moved to Wisconsin.
Memphis still remembers its pioneer aviators, when this mural was painted and forty years after the fact, on August 6, 1967, Memphis named their new airport the Briggs-Smith Memorial Airport, also in their honor.